CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines – Environment Sec. Roy Cimatu has welcomed the plan of this city’s local government to allow neighboring towns to use its sanitary landfill for a fee.
“I discussed with Mayor Oscar Moreno with this plan of letting municipalities use the sanitary landfill for a fee, of course, so the city will earn,” Cimatu told reporters during his visit here on Thursday, Jan. 30.
This move, he said, could help nearby local governments who still have not complied with Republic Act 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000.
RA 9003 requires the proper waste disposal including the construction of facilities. But 20 years have passed, Cimatu said, some municipalities are still not compliant.
Based from the 2015 data of the Commission on Elections, there are 1,490 municipalities and 144 cities in the country. Of this number, Cimatu said, only 10 to 15 percent of the municipalities have complied with the provision of the RA 9003 to construct their own sanitary landfill.
The high cost of putting up and maintaining a sanitary landfill, he added, is the main factor why municipal governments have yet to build their own garbage disposal facility.
He has instructed the regional offices of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to assist towns in coming up with the solution to this problem like helping them come up with a sanitary landfill.
“We don’t have to follow the standard sanitary landfill as it will require hundreds of millions of pesos. Municipalities that don’t earn much cannot just afford to build it,” he added.
Cagayan de Oro formally opened its sanitary landfill in Barangay Pagalungan in 2017, a year after closing its 17-hectare dumpsite in Barangay Carmen. In 2016, the Office of the Ombudsman threatened to file legal action against local officials for non-compliance of RA 9003.
With the closure of the dumpsite, Mayor Moreno decided to develop it into an eco-park complete with amenities such as gardens, trails, and other facilities. It is expected to be opened to the public by 2022. (davaotoday.com)